Aug 12, 2011

[Movies] Mamarazzi (2010)

Mamarazzi (2010)Regardless of how talented certain actors or actresses may be, sometimes there's nothing that can be done to salvage a movie. A movie, after all, is the culmination of a lot of effort by different pieces working together. While the actors do help bring the story to life, the writers are the ones who define those stories and the director assembles the pieces to tell that story. The cinematographers help establish the world that we're about to experience on the screen and the sound engineers do their best to create auditory reality that matches the images on the screen. The list of players goes on and on but in the end it's about all pieces working together and not just one or two of them.

This movie was, well, bad. It was really, really bad, but I suppose it was a necessary stopover in my efforts to catch up with Eugene Domingo's recent filmography. It had a really lousy story with a lot of less-than-talented folks acting alongside her with the kind of dated and hackneyed direction that has pretty much defined a local film industry. It's like we've trapped ourselves in our own molds and concepts for what the studios believe to be popular with local movie-goers instead of daring to do something more. And while we also see a lot of silly slapstick comedies in Western markets, this one just gave up on any pretenses of making any true sense.

For a moment I even considered not posting a review for this movie at all since it was a struggle to even finish. But then given that (1) I had actually spent time watching the movie and (2) my blog isn't just about good movies alone, I decided to get around to this review.

Mamarazzi is a Filipino comedy movie directed by Joel Lamangan with a supposed screenplay written by Joel Lamangan, Ricky Lee and Chris Violago. The movie was part of Regal Films' 50th anniversary offerings, which may explain why it felt like a giant step backwards.

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 09:  (L to R) Act...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe story, as it stands, is about an over-bearing mother named Violy (Eugene Domingo) and her overwhelming presence in the lives of her children. Thus the term "mamarazzi", as to imply she's a mother with the tenacity of the infamous paparazzi. It actually begins about 15 years ago when she learns that she'll need a historectomy due to a medical condition she has been diagnosed of having. Being a single woman, she decides to find a way to have children before she is made barren with the help of her queer best friend Mandy (John Lapus). After various attempts fail, he eventually offers the services of his boyfriend Carlo (Diether Ocampo). Some time after, she gets a set of triplets and Carlo vanishes completely.

Thus we come to the "present" day where Violy struggles to raise all three kids on her own. The girls Peachy and Stawberry (both played by Andi Eigenmann) are very different in personality from one another while her son Dingdong (AJ Perez) is a good kid who has little luck with girls. I could go on trying to differentiate them more but then I got rather confused as the movie progressed as well. Among the other kids in the movie there's even a gay angle involved, but I'm not entirely sure why that had to be introduced at all.

The movie relies on a lot of the kind of tropes that are part and parcel of the local movie experience. Looking for non-nonsensical musical numbers whose only purpose is to stress the title of the movie? Oh we even get one on an ice skating rink with Lada Gaga-style costumes. How about a gay man trying to be butch because he's a local politician? Well why else would we have John Lapus involved, right? And don't get me started on all the stereotypical gay things that had the young boys get involved in, including a local gay beauty pageant.

The movie has just enough plot to string together one event with the next one but that's about it. The connections between the various plot points are tenuous at best and even the comedic stylings of Eugene Domingo weren't enough to salvage this train wreck of a movie. I suppose I should try to be a tad nicer considering AJ Perez passed away recently, but I'd like to think he'd appreciate some honest criticism here. And this was a classic showcase of young talent that had been given poor acting direction and were all clearly too raw for roles as underdeveloped as the ones in this movie.

By the end I felt rather numb and was seriously questioning my plan of watching all these Eugene Doming movies.

Mamarazzi is a clear reminder as to why I generally avoid local movies - the quality is just horrendous and the artistic vision is completely absent. This movies gets a pity vote in the form of one hare-brained excuse to mention the movie title out of 5.

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